Should Cubs really be locked into a college pitcher with first pick?

Should Cubs really be locked into a college pitcher with first pick?

The results of our poll thus far are overwhelming.  87% of our readers want the Cubs to take a college pitcher, whether it be Mark Appel, Ryan Stanek, or Sean Manaea.

It seems like a no-brainer.  The Cubs need pitching.  Soon.  They need impact talent on the mound in their organization.  I'm one of those guys on board with taking a pitcher with their first round pick (#2 overall).

But then I read this article in Baseball America by Jim Callis on the #1 overall pick and how the best players ever chosen there were high school hitters (Chipper Jones, Alex Rodriguez, and Ken Griffey, Jr.).  The Cubs don't have the #1 pick, but Callis mentioned how Atlanta preferred high school pitcher Todd Van Poppel, and the Mariners almost took two college arms: Mike Harkey and Darren Dreifort over  Ken Griffey and Alex Rodriguez, respectively.

It made me curious, so I decided to look at the top college pitchers taken between 2000-2010.   I didn't look at the past two years because it's still too early to judge.  Best players are selected using career WAR.  In cases where the top college pitcher went 1st overall, I also included the next highest college arm taken since the Cubs have the 2nd pick.


  • Top college pitcher taken: Adam Johnson, Twins (#2 overall)
  • #2 overall pick: Johnson
  • Best first round pick(s): Adrian Gonzalez (1), Chase Utley (13), Adam Wainwright (29)


  • Top college pitcher taken: Mark Prior, Cubs (2)
  • #2 overall pick: Prior
  • Best first round pick(s): Joe Mauer (1), Mark Texeira (5),


  • Top college pitcher taken: Brian Bullington, Pirates(1),  Jeff Francis, Rockies (7)
  • #2 overall pick: B.J. Upton, Rays
  • Best first round pick(s): Zach Greinke (6), Prince Fielder (7), Cole Hamels (17)


  • Top college pitcher taken: Kyle Sleeth, Tigers (3)
  • #2 overall pick: Richie Weeks, Brewers
  • Best first round pick(s): Weeks, Aaron Hill (13), Chad Billingsley (24)


  • Top college pitcher taken: Justin Verlander, Tigers (2)
  • #2 overall pick: Verlander
  • Best first round pick(s): Verlander


  • Top college pitcher taken: Ricky Romero, Blue Jays (6)
  • #2 overall pick: Alex Gordon, Royals
  • Best first round pick(s): Ryan Zimmerman (4), Ryan Braun (5), Troy Tulowitzki (7), Andrew McCutcheon (11), Jacoby Ellsbury (23)


  • Top college pitcher taken: Luke Hochevar, Royals (1)*
  • #2 overall pick: Craig Reynolds, Rockies (2)*
  • Best first round pick(s): Evan Longoria (3), Clayton Kershaw (7), Tim Lincecum (10)

*Note: 5 of the first 6 picks were college pitchers that year: Hochever, Reynolds, Brad Lincoln (4), Brandon Morrow (5), Andrew Miller (6)


  • Top college pitchers taken: David Price, Rays (1), Daniel Moskos, Pirates (4)
  • #2 overall pick: Michael Moustakas, Royals
  • Best first round pick(s): Price, Matt Weiters (5), Jason Heyward (14)


  • Top college pitcher taken: Brian Matusz, Orioles (4)
  • #2 overall pick: Pedro Alvarez, Pirates
  • Best first round pick(s): Buster Posey (5),


  • Top college pitchers taken: Stephen Strasburg (1),  Matt Hobgood, Orioles (5)
  • #2 overall pick: Dustin Ackley, Mariners
  • Best first round pick(s): Strasburg,  Mike Trout (25)


  • Top college pitcher taken: Drew Pomeranz (5)
  • #2 overall pick: James Tallion, Pirates
  • Best first round pick(s): Bryce Harper (1), Manny Machado (3)

Here's what scares me.  There are only 3 college pitchers taken in that 11 year time frame who were among the top players in the draft.  Two of those were the ones taken #1 overall.  Those pitchers, Strasburg and Price, were considered to be special talents who had little to no chance of slipping to #2.  That is not the case in this year's draft.

Justin Verlander is the only exception in the past decade as a college pitcher who was taken 2nd who has made a long term impact.  And you could argue that, after the first pick, he's the only college pitcher taken in the entire first round that was among the top players drafted in his respective class.

I understand, as many of you do, that the Cubs desperately need pitchers and that college arms are more likely to make it to the majors than high school arms.  But when you talk about impact talent, it's a different story.  Recent history shows that the top college arms, with a couple of exceptions, haven't had the impact that other players have had.  Excluding top overall picks, only 2 of the top 25 1st round pick on this list were college arms: Verlander and Tim Lincecum.

It's a tough decision based on the Cubs need for starting pitching and the opinion of many that college pitching is the strength of this year's weaker draft class.

But it seems to me that if someone like outfielders Austin Wilson, Austin Meadows, and/or Clint Frazier (pictured above) show greater long term impact potential, the Cubs will have to think long and hard about selecting them rather than stretching to fill a need.  Though it is the strength of the draft, there really are no "can't miss" prospects among the starting pitchers.  The Cubs will have to decide if there is a potential Justin Verlander (who was no sure thing) in the group.  If not, maybe they'll have to look to fill their starting pitching needs elsewhere and just take the best available player.

Filed under: MLB Draft


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  • No. They should draft the best available player, regardless of position.

  • In reply to tim815:

    I agree. Right now that seems to be a college SP, which would make things easy, but that could easily change.

  • For me a top everyday player over a pitcher if talent level is equal.
    So many things can go wrong (or right) by picking a pitcher with
    the 2nd pick in the draft. By then we should have some idea if
    they can aquire young pitchers by some other means. Trading
    an extra infield prospect? Do we have top outfield prospects
    at all 3 positions?

  • In reply to emartinezjr:

    They tend to be the safer pick, no doubt. Just looking at this list you can see how many more position players made impacts than pitchers.

    And that's a really good point. There is a lot of time between now and the draft, and the Cubs may have found other ways to acquire pitching by then, so the need may not be as big as it is now.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Do teams have to wait until July to sign international talent?
    I still have hope that can find a pitcher in the Rule V draft
    that shows some promise. Between now and ST many
    fairly young pitchers should be released for one reason
    or another.

  • Bryce Harper.. not Brian lol.

  • In reply to jh03:

    It was already fixed shortly after publishing, but takes a while for corrections to change.

    But thanks for noticing. Do you have anything else to comment on besides typos?

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    I wasn't trying to be a jerk by saying it, I was just throwing it out there lol.

    Actually ya, I read this site a lot, I've just never commented. I really enjoy the page.

    But about the article, it makes me really scared to pull the trigger on a college pitcher.. I have wanted them to go that route before, but like you point out, they don't fair very well. It'll be interesting to see what happens and what names surface closer to the actual draft.

  • In reply to jh03:

    No problem. It was my Harry Caray moment :) I do vaguely remember a Brian Harper playing for the Pirates and Twins, not sure how that name was on my brain and how it got on the page, though!

    Glad to have you comment. This list made me a little worried too. Like you, I thought it was a done deal that they should take a college arm, but the recent history gives me pause.

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    It would be interesting to look at, say, the top 5 pitchers taken in each draft, or maybe everyone above a certain WAR and what round they were selected in. Maybe taking a bunch of high upside, high risk pitchers is the better route.

  • In reply to Kevin Heckman:

    Interesting, especially since that seems similar to the path the Cubs took last year. I wonder if that's the Cubs philosophy. They obviously had a shot to take Appel or a safe college arm like Michael Wacha, but they went with a HS position player in Almora. And some think they would have taken Almora even if the two college pitchers taken ahead of him, Gausman and Zimmer, were still available.

    If there isn't a college SP available who stands out to them maybe they take that same route.

  • I'd like to get some impact pitching with the #2 pick, but with the 2nd pick in the 2nd round I think we should be able to pick up an impact position player.

  • In reply to SFToby:

    I would too if it's available. But after looking at the recent history, it is anything but a sure thing, even with the second pick. I really hope they get that pitcher with that pick, but I also hope they don't try to force it.

  • This is what I'M screaming John! If the Cubs believe the best player on the board is a high school everyday player, you got to grab him! I believe that guy will be Austin Meadows with his 5 tool potential & outstanding bat speed that just explodes through the zone. I've already been dreaming about a lineup featuring Rizzo/Vogelbomb, Castro, Baez, Soler, Almora, & Meadows. Of course if they feel the best player on the board is indeed a pitcher, but meadows looks pretty enticing.

  • In reply to ChiRy:

    Haha! That's right, you and a couple of others have been screaming for the top talent no matter what.

    I agree with that. Right now it seems the consensus top two players are both college arms so it may end up being moot, but if the Cubs think that top talent is Meadows without question, then they have to go in that direction and get pitching later. They have a lot of money to spend so maybe they can find themselves a tough sign that slips.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    If his agent is not Boras, then money should be available to
    select a tough sign that's a good gamble to go after and sign.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    That is true about the money having the #2, although no comp picks this year. Any word on if the international signing pool will be weighted by record yet?

  • In reply to ChiRy:

    I think that's the case. I hope market size doesn't play into it.

  • In reply to ChiRy:

    Dreaming of a line-up with Rizzo/Vogelbomb wont happen Rizzo is going to be the 1st baseman for years to come, Vogelbomb will be traded for a player of impact. Stacking your team with possible future stars is what the Cubs should be doing. I think the trio of Beaz, Almora abd Soler will be the future regular players for the Cubbies. Right now the Cubs need pitching and more pitching, each draft player is a crap shot, even more so on pitchers, but high school players even more. Even the players that have the 5 tools dont always come out to become what their ability suggest.
    Who the Cubs draft will impact how they answer the pitching question if they have a chance to draft Meadows, and draft him it means that they will be going another route for pitching.

    Probably through free agency and the existing rounds of the draft, I say ability wise the Cubs will need an outfielder in the future as I mention Almora and Soler will be some where in the OF, and that third outfielder will come from a trade or draft.

  • I have always considered drafting pitchers more of a crap shoot than drafting hitters. Despite the success of the A's this year, I believe the most sustainable method for "sustained success" comes from dealing or signing established SPs - particularly if you are looking for top 3 starters. I would therefore rather have a surplus of stud position players in the minors and flip those for top-of-the-line SPs, than "gamble" that a college SP will develop into a front-line starter.

  • In reply to CubsFanInNorway:

    I tend to agree here. The A's did trade for two of their starters and only Jarrod Parker, one of the guys they traded for, was a first round pick #9 overall). None of the others were taken before the 10th round -- so even they have shown you don't have to go college pitchers early.

  • Man that 2005 draft was stacked.

  • In reply to Diggs:

    It was and I had to leave out guys like Jay Bruce and Justin Upton. I added Ryan Zimmerman to the original list, by the way.

  • I know that with the new CBA Boras does not have the power he
    used to. Let's please hope he does not represent whoever the
    Cubs draft. Let's hope Meadows has a great season.

  • In reply to emartinezjr:

    He does have Appel, so I wonder if that will have an impact. The Cubs did take Boras client Almora last year, so maybe not.

    Really would like to see Meadows have a great season too. Very intrigued. Also looking at Austin Wilson, who's a college bat and maybe a safer bet. He could become a top 5 pick if he shows some power.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Will they draft a safe pick (signable) and use the extra money
    to try to sign some hard to sign players? Is this a good
    draft philosophy to follow?

  • In reply to emartinezjr:

    That's a tough question. They did not do that last year but they do have more money to play with this year.

    I think the Cubs main goal is to get impact talent with the highest floor possible. If they are in a position where they like a guy more than other teams do, like they did with Almora last year, they could make a surprise pick early in the draft and save money for later. I do think that if they don't take the Astros strategy this year, we may not see them ever take it, since this is a good opportunity for them to try it.

    If you ask me, I think you always take the top impact player. The signability guys lower tend to be much higher risks. The only exception is if you see more risk than usual at the top and/or don't see a big difference between 2 or 3 guys -- and then take whomever takes the least money and spread out that risk.

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    I would draft the best player available. John are you suprised that Vogelbach was 50 on the top prospects?

  • In reply to Colman Conneely:

    Yes, which list?

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    I could be wrong John, but wouldn't it be more applicable to only compare how college arms held up vs other picks in years where college arms were considered the best of the bunch going into the draft? Maybe it is impossible to measure that? It just seems that this year more than others college arms seem to be more or less consensus to be 'the' picks- where as other years this wasnt the case, thus taking a college arm and having it not work out would be more questionable.

    I mean to say if the Cubs took Appel or Manaea (my fav) this year and it didn't work, that wouldn't be as debatable as say 2005 when it appears obvious college arms weren't considered to be top of class.

  • In reply to Sean Clement:

    Interesting idea. That would be harder to do and it would be somewhat more subjective.

    A short cut is that we could look at the 2006 draft as one where college pitchers must have been considered the strength. 5 of the top 6 picks were college arms and only one, Brandon Morrow, has a career WAR of 10 or more.

    The top pitcher that year was considered to be Andrew Miller, who slipped to #6 because of signability issues.

  • Jim Finks used to draft the best available athlete instead of drafting according to need. Look where that got the Bears in the 80s.

  • In reply to giamby:

    He did indeed. I think you can point to a lot of successful teams who have taken that philosophy. Finks is one of the best examples for Chicago sports fans.

  • In reply to giamby:

    Finks also put the o-line ahead of everything else when he was hired. You said you need a good foundation to begin with, and which in baseball is what?

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    O sorry it was the top 50 hitting prospects.. I thought it was pitching to.. I was like wow..

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    I get wanting to draft a college pitcher and I do like the 3 at the top and I'm leaning wanting a college pitcher right now but that being said, the attrition rates for pitchers is just so much higher then position players so I get the logic in possibly taking a position player at #2. I expect a similar strategy to last year where we take a quantity of pitchers again.

    I absolutely love Clint Frazier and his bat speed. Meadows and Wilson are also really nice players too so I would be happy with any of them.

    That being said though, the lack of a true ace potential pitcher is concerning so it may be worth the risk to take a pitcher at #2.

  • In reply to Jeremy Clark:

    Aren't we glad we don't have to make that choice right now? It really is tough and you do a good job of pointing out those reasons.

    Frazier was impressive at the UA game. Not the biggest guy but he showed excellent power against a strong wind in the HR contest.

    I do like the idea of selecting multiple pitchers again if there isn't that can't miss guy out there.

  • John,

    Tremendous article--you've given us great food for thought. Before reading the article, I was all for them taking Appel or another college arm. Now, I have to say, they really need to trust their scouting and go after the best guy they can get. It's probably really a trap to draft based on need.

    Do you think the last 10 years are a bit flukey, or do you think that really is the way it is?

    I guess pitchers, more than position players, tend to take a more circuitous route to success. They're just a bit more dicey and hard to predict by nature. So, what's the answer? We already have a lot of late round finesse college arms (Struck, Jokisch, Fransescon, etc.) in the pipeline. How do we bring in the impact arms?

  • In reply to SVAZCUB:

    Thanks Svaz!

    I think that's what it boils down to...trusting their scouts.

    I don't know if it's a fluke, but I would think with the advent of better, more organized info, that teams would be even more successful. I'd have to research it to see if the past 10 years is an outlier.

    The Cubs do have those finesse arms and I think we'll see a couple of them make it eventually. But they do need those impact arms. The international draft and trades are other avenues.

  • i really like medows but if appel is here then ill take him. John if it wouldnt be too much work could you write about the top 5 players coming in this draft and the pros and cons of them and say who do you think they should take in the end?

  • In reply to kingpro98:

    I can do that at some point. I don't have any new info at this time so maybe a bit down the road?

  • also i cant wait until your top 20 prospects come out. any date in mind of when that will happen?

  • In reply to kingpro98:

    I'm getting close to starting a position by position analysis and I'll culminate it with a top 20. Catchers will be first. That should come within the next few days and maybe as soon as tomorrow depending on what's happening around Cubville.

  • One nitpick I'd have is Jered Weaver was a college pitcher in that '04 draft who went 12th. He was supposed to be a top 3 pick but fell because he was looking to get over $10 million. I definitely agree with your point though, the bust potential and injury potential for pitchers is much higher. I think obviously the front office will take the best player available and at this time it sounds like those 3 college pitchers are considered out in front. Because of that and the Cubs desperate need for pitchers with true front of the rotation potential, I hope they end with one of them. Although, it will be interesting to see if Meadows or Frazier or someone out of left field flies up draft boards between now and June.

  • In reply to OscarBluth5:

    That is a good point. I should have at least included him in my best players from that draft.

  • I think the FO will take the best player on the board, remember they needed pitching last years draft but took almora. If they pick a postion player first then they will take mostly pitching after.

  • In reply to seankl:

    I get the feeling this is true. They certainly won't force a pitcher. They'll take one, but only if he's the BPA (or at least very, very close)

  • In reply to seankl:

    There are 3 top pitchers and 2? top hitters in the draft. Only
    1 will be gone when they draft. Hire extra scouts and watch
    them like a hawk leading upto the draft.

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    Can you imagine the backlash Theo & Co. would take if they drafted Meadows instead of Appel? For the most part the uneducated fan simply knows we need pitching. So if we were to draft a High School kid over what is currently perceived as a can't miss college arm and the we end up with another 90+ loss season, I see the torches and pitchforks hitting the street of Chicago.

    I can kinda see the reasoning for picking the best athlete over the most need. But if we don't spend any money in free agency and take another chance on a possible 5 tool type of High School kid, folks are just gonna call for Theo's head on a platter. How can Cubs ownership go through another off season next year if this all happens?

  • In reply to bocabobby:

    Let 'em! They'll be the first ones jumping back on the bandwagon after the Cubs start winning.

  • In reply to bocabobby:

    I don't think Ricketts and Family care about folks calling for Theo's head on a platter. They know what his strategy is and what the plan is, so the fans will just have to kick rocks and pound sand for another year. Me, I'll still be watching as I have been since '81. I see his vision and plan and believe that this Cubs team is heading into a new era and will hopefully be similar to what ATL was in the 90's, but with more than 1 Championship.

  • In reply to bocabobby:

    Maybe so, but maybe not. Remember the cubs already passed on Appel once last year, so doing so again, won't shock anyone. Also, with the early success of some of the position players in the low minors, taking a meadows type player, that totals out as the top prospect available won't be as it might have been if we were only looking at say some of the AAA position player prospects of late. As great a need as pitching is for the franchise, if there is a position player they really like, like last year, they should take him and get pitching in the later rounds or trades. It will be fun to watch how it unfolds won't it?

  • In reply to bocabobby:

    Well, I can tell you that this front office is going to do what they believe is best for the team, not what's popular with fans. They're job is to create a winning team and they have far more info with which to do so than even the most avid fans.

    The Cubs can survive another offseason. And if the Cubs win, they'll be back in droves.

  • I'd look for the best available 3B, 2B, C, & SP in that order. Cubs need impact players. It took them a few scouts to finally start making serious picks and even those have been suspect. I think with the scouting team that is in place now, they will make the right choice.

  • Personally I would bet the Cubs will take an impact bat, The college pitchers are no Strasburgs. The Cubs are a large market team that can buy arms later .They also wont have the luxury of picking this high for too much longer. I do like how they took the bat then added arms later last draft . Lots of top arms wernt 1st rounders and lots of arms wash out. Meadows has the same makeup as Almora . I am betting that the Astros select him , If not I hope the Cubs are all over Him like a fat lady on a BB .

  • In reply to Bryan Craven:

    Astros may select him. They passed on Buxton last year, who was the highest rated position player. Maybe it depends on if he signs for below slot. I could also see them taking someone like Frazier if they can't get Meadows to agree.

  • john what postion does Austin Meadows play in the out field because if he plays CF i dont think we should take him but if he plays one corner spot we should take him. Also i think the cubs should take johnson and underwood type players that have high ceilings but is a risk.

  • In reply to kingpro98:

    He plays CF but keep in mind CF can play LF or RF...especially if they can hit like people expect Meadows will.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    i would have to say if we take him we would have plentiful outfeilders and john when will the next draft will be like 2011 where it was a strong draft?

  • If they take a bat I'd love to see them take Clint Frazier.

  • In reply to SFToby:

    He's an exciting player. Really enjoyed watching him play.

  • the cubs farm system isnt too bad right now this could be a lineup:
    C Castillo
    1B Rizzo
    2B barney/???
    SS Castro
    3B Beaz
    CF Almora
    RF Soler
    LF ???
    1SP Shark
    2SP Underwood
    3SP Johnson
    4SP Blackburn
    5SP Wood
    Could this use some work totally but right now the cubs have a good farm system and getting meadows could fill the LF then get more pitcher in trades(AKA MR VOGGOLENBOOMB trade) and making good draft picks

  • So much can change over the next 6-9 months. Appel may be overused....some guys get hurt.....another hot pitcher will show up...some hitters turn into uber-prospects in the coming college / HS season....the Cubs look to the '14 FA class and see lots of pitching or 3B help to buy.....and so on.

    My point is that it's too early to say :"We should do this or get this guy". But it is so interesting to see what's in the candy store! Keep up the good work, John.

  • In reply to StillMissKennyHubbs:


    I don't think it's going to be radically different, but there will certainly be some changes between now and June. At any rate, the decision may still boil down to the same choice. Do you get a college pitcher in the hopes that he can help fill a hole in the rotation, or do you just take the best player, even if it's an outfielder, a position the Cubs spent over $30M to fill between two amateurs just last season in Soler and Almora? History since 2000 says position players are more likely to succeed. The Cubs need pitching, but they should also be collecting assets.

  • From what I have heard the top players are going to be pitchers, college pitchers, that could change. The Cubs at this point , will take one the two college guys. Everybody loves multi-tool talent but if the top guy is a college pitcher , you take him....period.

  • In reply to Steve Flores:

    That hasn't been a very successful strategy, though. Only Verlander and Lincecum have been impact, ace type pitchers taken in the first round after the 1st pick in the past 11 years. To me that's not a very appealing success rate. It's one thing if the top college pitcher is Strasburg. It's quite another if it's Adam Johnson or Bryan Bullington. And the Johnsons and the Bullingtons come out far more often than the Strasburgs.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    There have been other college pitchers taken in the first round after pick 1 who ended up being very valuable like Jered Weaver, Drew Storen, Ian Kennedy, Max Scherzer, Daniel Bard and Matt Garza. Plus looking at the '10 and '11 drafts, Matt Harvey, Drew Pomeranz, Danny Hultzen, Trevor Bauer, Matt Barnes, Sonny Gray, Alex Meyer and Taylor Jungmann all still have the potential to be very good. Plus, I don't think any Cubs fan regrets the Hayden Simpson pick!

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    Taking the best available athlete is the way to go for the Cubs. I agree that most successful big league pitchers are found outside the first 10 picks. Pitchers are way too risky to take with the second pick unless one is a unanimous can't-miss talent, and as John pointed out, even Verlander was not a sure thing.
    I also have a bad feeling about Appel. If the last draft showed anything, it was his greed. A #2 pick needs to be a guy with 80 makeup (like Almora) and someone who plays for the love of the game, not the money.
    All I know is that with McLeod and his staff all over this, we shouldn't worry. It's so cool to honestly trust the FO and know they will get the right guy for the Cubs!

  • In reply to AdolphoPhillips67:

    It is a good feeling to entrust that pick to the front office. We know they'll work hard and do their scouting, research, etc. Very curious to see what they do.

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    In reply to John Arguello:

    BTW John...thanks for the tip on the Aberlour. Really a stark contrast to the peaty blend! I love it!!

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    I totally trust them to whats best for the organization as a
    whole. Too bad claiming players effects the 40-man roster.

  • I was totally thinking SP but it really has to be best player on the board, however I think it will probably be a pitcher.

  • I love this stuff! It made a difference in my opinion.

  • In reply to Quasimodo:

    After reading these posts about Cub Nation's views I can say that the average fan is ignorant! I have coached college softball 28 years. I just learned something on this page I had no idea about. And I know all these people including John and Tom know more than I do about the business. This article just proved it. I trust the Cub's management.

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    In reply to Quasimodo:

    Best Cub's site by far!
    Hot Stove is reality bites from Wrigley to dampen the spirit!

  • Since drug testing began, the importance of pitching has increased. In the days of wine and Sosas, if a GM was deciding between equally talented hitting and pitching prospects, it made sense to go with the slugger. Fifty home run potential was not out of the question for a top hitter. But now that freakish home run hitting is on the wane and pitching is on the rise, I think that elite pitching looks more attractive. I think the 'pitcher vs. hitter' choice in drafting is weighted differently now. On a perfect ten scale, maybe a 'nine' pitcher is more valuable than a 'ten' hitter.

  • There was a statistical analysis done of MLB drafts (I think from 1980 forward) that supports the anecdotal observations you've presented, John. I don't have it handy, but it basically concludes that less that 5% of pitchers taken in the first round ever make it to the MLB club. Position players taken in the first round are twice as likely to make it.

    That doesn't mean you shouldn't take a pitcher, but that you should adjust your expectations for pitchers. Just more of a gamble. Probably should invest 10 mil over 6 or 8 guys instead of just one top pick.

  • I don't think the Cubs are locked in on anyone player or position, but I'm sure if they had their preference, one of the college SPs would separate themselves from the pack and be available at #2. But the team was lacking in pitching prospects this year and they still took what they felt like was the BPA at #6, so I don't think we should be worried about them "locking in" on anything.

    Plus, sooooooo much will change between now and the draft that it's not really worth worrying about yet. Take a look at the pre-season ranks for this year's draft and Devin Marrero was a Top 5 pick and Kyle Zimmer wasn't considered Top 25. Carlos Correa and Albert Almora were rated in the mid-teens.

    And those rankings were done four months before the draft, which just means that these early rankings are meaningless. All three of those pitchers could end up needing shoulder surgery and the Cubs could draft someone not currently in the Top 10.

  • Excellent article as always John!

    I'm a BPA kind of guy. Fortunately, as others have pointed out, our FO seems to know what they're doing so far as evaluation & development of talent. So I trust them. Having said that, everyone speaks of how our most pressing need is SP. True..... However, we are also very, very weak/thin at Catcher. This draft is chock full of legit HS Catching talent.

    I'd look for the FO to add lots of SP candidates that they perceive value in (relative to draft slot) with high upside; aka Blackburn, Underwood, etc... But I'd also look for them to add a couple viable Catching prospects. Look at Soto's (and my buddy Wilkens) one magnificent & successful season vs. how they fared long term and you begin to understand why we need the quality depth at what is the most valuable position defensively.

    Personally, I must admit to having a bit of a man-crush on Manaea and Opie Taylor. IDK his name, but the red-headed OF player from GA just looked tenacious as hell at the UA game @ Wrigley. I think he's got the stones to beat you on sheer will & talent ala Bryce Harper. With Manaea, his recent rise & success is directly attributed to him maturing physically and receiving college coaching and work-outs. IMO, he is the one SP who has Strasburg & David Price type potential. He may not ever live up to it... but if he has another solid season @ ISU and continues to develop his secondary offerings - no way he's not that "one player at the top" kind of guy.... my $0.02 anyways......

  • Again, great analysis.

    I'll chime in now. I actually didn't vote for any of the those prospects in the poll on who the Cubs should select with the #2 pick next year. My favorite prospect right now is Kris Bryant.

    I don't think the Cubs should target any of the top college pitchers because none of them are sure bets to make a great impact at the MLB level. I've seen so many top college prospects get drafted and fail, just from following the Cubs over the years: Bobby Brownlie, Chadd Blasko, L. Hagerty, Ben Christensen, Grant Johnson and of course...M. Prior. I should admit I was all for drafting M. Prior as he was viewed as the consensus top talent in that draft and many people thought Minn was crazy to draft the local prodigy (J. Mauer) over a polished potential #1 starter in M. Prior.

    Anyway, I like R. Stanek more than M. Appel and S. Manaea, but none of them are locks to be a #1-2 starter at the MLB level.

    Right now, of the potential hitters available I vote for K. Bryant, an impressive slugger with plate discipline and a high-upside/high-floor. I think he'll have to be shifted from 3B to LF/RF, but he will definitely have the bat to play there. I think his defense will be average to slightly above-average once he gets acclimated to the position. He also has outstanding makeup from everything I've read which the Cubs' FO seems to value very highly now. I think you should include him in future polls John.

  • In reply to I miss Ron Santo:

    I read the article you gave. They profile him as a 1B only. He is not fast now and will get slower as he fills in. He sounds like a right handed version of Dan Vogelbach. They both have tons of power with good plate disipline. A very good player but not worthy of the 2nd overall pick.

    My favorite picks now are Manaea and Meadows. The red headed Opie is next. Since we have the 2nd pick, we have to get one of them.

  • In reply to I miss Ron Santo:

    Thanks. I like Kris Bryant and I considered him and Colin Moran before choosing Austin Wilson for my college bat.

    Bryant has prodigious power potential but the defense probably limits him to first and the contact rate may limit his offense overall. I'm just not sure an Adam Dunn type first baseman is what you go for on the 2nd pick, but I can see him being a steal at 5-10. If he improves defensively and becomes a better all around hitter, then that could change.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Well, we can agree to disagree here and look back at this draft in 2-4 years and see who was right!

    No, but I get what you're saying. I don't think K. Bryant really profiles that similarly to a "right-handed hitting D. Vogelbach" or A. Dunn. He is a much better athlete and might be able to stick at 3B even. Yes he might have to potentially move to LF/RF or 1B, but his bat is very impressive. I think he'll destroy college pitchers this year. I also like Austin Wilson and Austin Meadows so we'll see who is the best complete hitter as the draft approaches.

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    Thanks for posting this!

    I've been arguing with friends that Meadows is a much better pick than Appel.

    I don't like anything about Appel, honestly. If Stanek impresses our scouts, or if Whitson makes a comeback, I'd be excited. But Appeal has flop written all over him

    And in general, I totally agree that unless the pitching Prospect is a Steasburg type, unquestioned #1, you should go to position players.

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